#writephoto: The Door

Trying to get back into writing and doing a dozen other things at the same time. This is inspired by Sue Vincent’s photo prompt.

It also fits the Daily Post prompt, voyage, so here goes, killing two birds with one stone.

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Their fathers had slaughtered the monks when they arrived at the settlement. Their longship had glided up the estuary on the windswept coast like a grass snake through the rushes, and the battle was short and fierce. It was a good place, hidden from sight of the sea by a line of low hills, and sentinels had such a view across the broad river valley that invaders would never surprise it. If, of course they thought to keep watch, which the previous inhabitants hadn’t.

Times were quieter now and the sons of the sea wolves were farmers and homesteaders in this peaceful place, where the winters were mild and the land rich. They had even adopted some of the local beliefs and built their own place of worship of the dead god, the man on the tree, because he reminded them of Thor, the oak tree god. They worked dragons and sea serpents, longships and merpeople into the carvings that decorated the entrance to the holy place, and they set amulets and spells into the great door that protected it.

Twenty years after the invasion, the first monks dared to return, brandishing their crucifixes of the dead god. They chopped down the holy oak tree that grew by the door and flung open the heavy door. The tree god was angry, and the amulets screamed vengeance, but the monks, in their ignorance, couldn’t hear. Pale-faced and hostile, they marched into the holy place, and the door, when it closed behind them, muffled the sound of their screaming.

Old gods

Brambles crawl ragged and riotous
around the base of the hill.
Stone stands moss-covered
grass to its knees
amid bullocks snuffling.
Higher still, clouds hang
pulled by the strings of the stars
and soft rain falls
puddling hoof prints
by the water trough.
Lark sings in the high air
and the stone stands.

And the stone stands
with its roots in the earth,
the earth that spills and spreads
and rolls beneath the grass
until it joins the sea.
The tides roll and waves roar
and sea caves echo with the lark’s song.
For all things join
From the stars in the sky
to the pebbles that grind and roll
in the depths of the deep sea caves.
And they join with the stone
that stands on the hill
where bullocks graze and the lark sings.

I look over the land from the stone on the hill
and I hear the lark sing
in the far sea caves.
My feet sink deep, down in the earth
that forever was mine and will always be,
full of the voices and breath of my past.
My heart listens to the soul of all things
singing the lark’s song
to the rolling deeps.

Ballinagree